Encouragement - Overwhelmed with cleaning & homeschooling

Art, Foreign Language, Music, Nature Walks, as well as general ideas and encouragement

Encouragement - Overwhelmed with cleaning & homeschooling

Unread post by cbollin »

Happy2BMotherof3 wrote:First of all I just want to say that I've really been enjoying the MFW curriculum's (MFW 1st, Adventures). They are a perfect fit for our family. They have everything we need.

The reason I began homeschooling was because I felt as though it was God's will. Now I'm beginning to really wonder if it is or not. Lately I've just been sooo overwhelmed with homeschooling and trying to keep this house cleaned. Our house has been especially lately a terrible mess.....insulate, resheetrock......mud the walls.....paint, etc. I'm not enjoying my kids, I'm constantly having to discipline them, they just want to play and not clean up after themselves (and complain and blame another child when told to do so). My son tends to complain when we do things other than mfw. All of these things have made me just not enjoy homeschooling and tempted to put them in ps. Today has been a bad day. Seems like I have more of those instead of good. Has anyone gone through this and survived? lol.......what have you done?
Take the rest of the week off of schooling -- except to get them to help with the cooking and cleaning.

I just read this post and thought "get the web cam out of my house please!"

2 weeks ago, I whined to my hubby, "Watch them. I'm going to clean. I may not come up for air." They were exiled from the basement. They were exiled from the main level! The nice thing is that I got dad involved.

Most nights we now go through a 15 minute drill. You'd think that after 16 years of marriage and 11 years of parenting, I would have figured this one out. I had to ask my husband to help each night. I'm not one of these who can clean before he is home. And thankfully he is not one who needs to have it in great shape. (thanks dear!) Now, we have about 3 or 4 of us helping to clean. The youngest sometimes can help --- but developmentally, it just isn't there yet.

Our kids do better with cleaning when we are right there with them in the same room doing the cleaning. Our oldest focuses on a speck of dirt to be picked up, but honestly doesn't see the dirty clothes. We have to gently always say, "Get the sock, under the bed."

Oh, another thing that has helped me a lot is having one room that is quick to clean that I can just "escape" to and sit. No toys are allowed in, no school work. Just me and a cup o tea and a little devotional book.

Here is something that my MIL has observed about my house: you have young children and you live in your house as well school there. I love visiting here --- my grandchildren are learning lots of good stuff. Keep up the good work. And remember -- you never saw my house before the youngest was 15.

Something my hubby said when I was really ready to put them all on a bus: it will take you 3 hours on one day to clean the house with them out of the way. And not nearly as much time to maintain it when they don't live in here 24/7. So, once the house is clean, then what are you going do all day?

hoping something in that rambling mess of mine brings some encouragement --- even if it doesn't bring a solution.

Posts: 442
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 9:37 am

Unread post by Lucy »


Just to let you know that we have more days than I would like that are like this. I wish I had some great miracle that has worked for us but it is not so much whining anymore as just overall attitudes. Part of it is their age but none the less it is not acceptable.

I just wanted you to know that I would be praying for you as you seek to find a balance between being the mom and the teacher.

I know that the Hazells have dealt with these kinds of problems too and you may just want to give them a call and talk about it.

There have been many days in my homeschooling years that I have wondered, "What am I doing this for?" God always brings me back to His plan for us in this journey. Even with all the difficult days I always come back to how short a time I really have with them. Last year was one of our most difficult years. About half way through the year God showed me clearly that the problems that my kids were having were not because I homeschooled and would certainly not disappear if I put them in ps. So I pray a lot and I am learning to be tough but loving when it comes to drawing the line with attitudes and sibling problems. It is not perfect but we are getting there.

I know this does not give you the answers but I do hope it will encourage you in your journey.

Grace and peace to you,
wife to Lee and mom to Twila 18 (girl) and Noel 16(boy). Happy MFW user since 2002.
Shelly Best
Posts: 25
Joined: Sat Jul 03, 2004 11:42 pm

Unread post by Shelly Best »

Booooy do I hear your plea!!

I hope it will encourage you to know I am in my 7th year with MFW! We began doing K and 1st together. We are now in our 4th pilot year (1850-2M)...I have three children. In the course of our hs years we have remodeled ugh...I hate to say...3 times and I mean, more than a wall on each occasion. We are about to begin our 4th remodel to add a master bedroom. Yah...adventures in hs...the highlight every year in our family is to struggle keeping the schooling organized and complete each day of school work, keep the house clean, and manage to cook a meal in a week. Notice: I said, "A meal" Ain't no time to grow a garden here" (bad gammer, I know, but makes the point). If the meal is not from a box, bottle, package, jar, can or crock pot, it isn't quick enough. I only hope all the preservatives don't kill us! :)

Okay here are the tips:

1. We keep a list on our refrigerator of "privileges" which is everything that is beyond the life of 1850. The children do not get to do anything listed, which by the way is everything in our modern life, unless all their school work is complete and chores are done.

2. The chores are divided daily by room and the children have a chore list of what "I" expect of the cleaning. The rooms are changed every day. This allows the children to develop an understanding of the work I am delegating to them and keeps me from, shall I say, a bad hair day>yelling:) They also need to make their bed and keep their room clean. I say this is an emergency precaution.

3. This has been our routine for the past three years and I believe last year was our most challenging, only because my children are beginning to develop pre-teen attitudes. They are reverting back to toddlers.

4. I break down the lesson plan in MFW to three separate plans according to grade/age level, so my children know what is expected of them. Each child receives their own lesson plan from me for the week and they must complete each day to get any privileges. My oldest child is very independent and will complete hers early, so she helps teach my youngest reading, spelling, math drills, whatever I need, and I pay her a small wage as a tutor. Usually 50 cents.

These are just a few things we do to help me keep my hair. Turning grey is enough; I do not want to be old and bald:)

I actually sound like a drill sergent, but we do celebrate each time the children complete their weekly goals. Usually a field trip, day off of school, pajama day, ice cream, skating, park....
Shelly of CA
wife to Mike;
mother of Hannah(13), Michael(12), Thomas(9)
MFW since 2000
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Jul 18, 2006 11:34 pm

Unread post by shellie »

WOW! Shelly, you are an inspiration! I need to try a few of your "drill sergent" tactics on my boys. I am not the most organized person around, and I often decide that it's easier just to do it myself rather than take the time and prodding to get the boys to do it... but that doesn't really help them (or me!) in the long-run. Thank you for your great "getting things done" outline!

the other shellie ^__^
Posts: 473
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 2:40 pm

Unread post by kellybell »

We're there too.

When they went to school (and the other two napped or weren't born yet!), I would take time each day to pick up stuff.

Now that they are home ALL THE TIME, making messes ALL THE TIME, and with my priorities on teaching and relationships and not cleaning, the house is ... well, frankly it's a mess. It's a manageable mess, but by the time those kiddos are in bed, I'm tired too! I spend a little time picking up but usually I crash into bed.

It doesn't help that we are painting (inside) the house.

I just read on another board about a family that has a jar to collect quarters (I guess you could use bills and other coins). At the end of the day, whoever has completed everything he was responsible for (school work, music practice, chores, whatever) then he could add a quarter (kept in another jar, bag, whatever) to the quarter jar. Whenever the jar has enough money (the kids get a little math practice counting coins!) the family goes out to pizza or saves up for a bigger trip to the amusement park. Maybe partnering this "positive" incentive with the "negative" (I hate to use that word, because it really isn't negative, more like punative) incentives might work. We're going to try it soon.

We have lots of talks about respect, honor, etc. I cannot stand whining and complaining.

I am guessing that very few homeschooling families really ARE so well-behaved and enthusiastic. All families have their good moments, but I think we are ALL battling the sin natures in our kids.

Make sure whatever you do, you and dh are together on what you are doing. He can support you by simply getting the kids out of the house one night a week for you to pick up and plan, by allowing you shopping time, etc.

Oh, and don't forget to pray. Realize that God is shaping them as they grow AND he's also very much shaping and growing YOU!
Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).
Posts: 334
Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2004 11:59 am

Unread post by 4Truth »

It doesn't help that we are painting (inside) the house.
Oh, we're in the middle of this mess, too! Our house is SUCH a disaster right now! And we need to get it done because we have to put the house on the market, but the children MUST get at least SOME attention/schooling from Mom daily, or they'll be glued to the screen (TV/computer). I try to involve them in whatever we're doing as much as possible, but that's hard when it seems so much faster to do it myself! The reality is, when we do work together, we get much done faster than if I'd done it myself.

Sometimes I think we moms just lie to ourselves. Either we have to do it ALL "perfectly", or we're a failure somehow. Or no one can do it as well as we can. Or there isn't TIME to train our children how to jump in and take part. We have a saying which goes a long way to nipping complaining in the bud... actually two sayings. One is scripture, "Do all things without grumbling." The other is, "Everyone who lives in this house helps take care of it." (Except the animals, of course. lol. But they're part of the "house" that needs taken care of!)

Or there's "Do all things as unto the Lord." Or, "If a man does not work, neither shall he eat." (And we have friends who *literally* implement that last one... if the children haven't finished their chores, it doesn't matter if it's mealtime... they don't eat until they're done!)

Anyway, those are just some ideas you can toss around and try if you like. But know that you are not alone! It's easy to second guess what we *thought* God wanted us to do (I do it often) when things get hard, but we're told to "run the race with perseverance" and learn how to overcome the trials for God's glory. (((Hugs))) to you, Happy2BMotherof3! :o)
Donna, with two MFW graduates and the "baby" in 11th grade! %| Using MFW since 2004.
Shelly Best
Posts: 25
Joined: Sat Jul 03, 2004 11:42 pm

Unread post by Shelly Best »


We use raffle tickets to pay the children. I have a roll for each child in different colors. One color per child. Each ticket is worth 25 cents. They each have an account of saved tickets that they can cash in when the funds are available. They are learning money management, chore responsiblity and understanding that mom and dad are not an ATM. We work hard for our money too. Once a week the children are rewarded *starbucks* [not coffee] -- another name would be daddy bucks for positive attitudes during the week, going above and beyond the ordinary in chores, school work, etc... I figured the schools and churches do all the great rewards for positive behavior, and this all starts in the home, so we rallied as a family and implemented this idea in our home.

This idea came after a series of mysterious erasings off the white board of chores by none other than "DIDN'T DO IT"
Shelly of CA
wife to Mike;
mother of Hannah(13), Michael(12), Thomas(9)
MFW since 2000
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Mar 25, 2006 10:36 pm

Unread post by mout »

Add another mom to the list!
We cleaned on Saturday, and by Monday noon it was a mess! (Sunday we were gone most of the day!)

I think sometimes my problem is that after we get done with school, I am too tired to "make" them do anymore chores than their regular set the table or empty the dishwasher! It is dealing with the attitudes that wears me out, not the actual chores! Plus, a lot of times, I want to sit down, plan meals, plan next week's school, library list, have my computer time, and then it is time to make dinner!

Our house looks very lived in. Not dirty, just cluttered -especially our schoolroom. I pretty much have a no toy rule in the living room. We tried tokens for a while but again, it is one more thing I have to do and keep track of, and my son got to the point he didn't care about losing them. Maybe he shouldn't lose them.... I may have to try it again - for money!

Hang in there, don't worry too much, the housework is always there, never goes away, and has to be done again and again. So if you must make a choice sometimes to do something fun, do it. The housework will wait. And I say that as much to you as to myself. (It stresses me to think of leaving stuff undone to go have a fun field trip!) But that is one of my New Year's goals. I think my family will all have to fill out a list of goals this year!

Nice to know other kids are acting like mine! But we still keep trying. Thanks for the tips everyone!

K. Lynn
Julie in MN
Posts: 2909
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: I need some advice/help :(

Unread post by Julie in MN »

Oh my, you are going thru one of those tough, overwhelmed times. We've all faced those times, and it's comforting to know we're all in this together. A few things that come to my mind as I read thru your specifics:

1. Don't try to clean & do school. Do school for 4 hours, and cook/clean during different hours -- for, say, 3 hours max. You can't do it all in one day anyways. And your kids will feel overwhelmed if they think that's what they're expected to do.

2. When my son's room (& his other messes) gets out of control -- which is as regular as clockwork -- I assign him a specific area each day to clean. It is overwhelming to him to have a broad task such as "clean your room" (just as it is to me), but he can clean the floor, or go thru one cupboard.

He will not do anything "fun" until it is done. I don't expect him to do it all alone, and am very willing to discuss/advise, but I do expect him to do active work. I think it's harder with girls to motivate them by delaying their free time, but it works well with boys.

3. If my child isn't listening, I don't ask him if he's listening -- of course he "thinks" he is! I ask him what I just said. I ask him to summarize such-and-such. If he cannot, I tell him I will re-read and he needs to summarize it when I'm thru. Everyone spaces out sometimes. And this seems to be punishment enough in itself :o) I also tell him that if he still cannot summarize after I have re-read, then he will be writing out a summary -- with a pencil -- torture to him!

4. Don't think your kids would not be lazy if they were not homeschooled. I have raised public schooled kids and they have been lazy :o) Plus I had to deal with teachers who "thought" I should have papers that were sent home, assignments I should know about, & all the other pressures of meeting someone *else's* agenda.

Last edited by Julie in MN on Sun Nov 26, 2006 1:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
Blessed Beth
Posts: 19
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2006 1:43 pm

Unread post by Blessed Beth »

It can feel a bit overwhelming when your house is in the middle of renovation!

What I have found that works is a chore chart. My ds make their bed when they get up and then they have one chore each day that they do before school starts. They pick up all their toys in their room right before bed. I try to do one major chore each day too so that I don't have to spend several hours cleaning. It never looks completely clean at one time but it keeps it manageable.
Exploration to 1850
Wife to David, Mom to Michael (1999) and Stephen (2001) and a future Ethiopian daughter.
Posts: 473
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 2:40 pm

Unread post by kellybell »


I like the ticket idea. Do you get those at the party store? I think I've seen them in the Oriental Trading catalog. Our girls' dance teacher hands out 0,1,2, or 3 tickets (I don't think anyone's ever gotten zero, come to think of it) to the younger dancers. Good attitudes, obeying, etc. gives the tickets. They trade them in for candy or stuffed animals (takes about a year of collecting to get one of those).
Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).
Posts: 67
Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2004 10:23 pm

Unread post by Heidi »

Dear Mother2Bof3,

I am praying for you. I read your post last week and again tonight. I am still praying for you.

Several years ago I was in a congregation where the pastor's yard was being dug up for some plumbing problem and he was preaching a funny one by permission of his wife how women are torn up inside when their homes and yards are torn up. It was funny becuase it is so true.

I say this to help you give yourself a break.

1. Take some time off during all the construction - do not even think about school for awhile - until you reach this - become quiet in your soul and spirit once again in spite of everything - get re-centered in the Lord. It is really tough on women whether it is moving, remodeling, messiness, sickness, marital - the home and all women (daughters) in it are torn up simutaneously - it is the way we are made.

2. a. Choose the freedom that comes with homeschooling and re-think "school" for awhile. 3 1/2 years ago, I adopted three children at one time. Then they were 6 1/2, 3 1/2 and baby. I spent 2 months just teaching them one habit at a time, slowly, and deliberately - exactly what I expected. We started with basics - morning and bedtime habits - brushing teeth, dressing and undressing, checking if clothes needed to be put away correctly or put into correct sorted bins in laundry area, taking a bath, story time manners, etc.; meal routines - sweeping the floor, wiping the table, picking up their own dirty dishes; folding laundry, etc. - you get the idea. This was school until these were well done and they understood what well done meant.

b. Every now and then, as they get old enough and ready for a new habit - or I find ourselves in your "predicament" (as we all do!) - I too, take a break to get re-centered and then spend some time reviewing habits, do a chore with them to review what well done means, and even learn a new habit/chore as ability and age permit.

3. Define clear blessings and consequences for all those attitudes. Check out doorposts.com for great charts on these things. Emphasize the blessings. Do not be afraid of gentle but firm and loving consequences, especially for obedience. I say this to myself too. We go in phases of reviewing it, then doing it well, then I let slide a little here or there out of true mercy - turns to eventual laziness/starting to need to act like drill sergeant - final meltdown is when I feel like all I am doing is yelling. We all get there, been there, done that. Then I remember - oh, yes, I could sit them down, review obedience and the consequences - then get back to the gentle but loving firmness of letting them reap the consequences of disobedience with my still small voice.

4. Once you re-establish order - I suggest you make or purchase a chart of chores that closely matches the order that works for your home - one that has places for them to mark off as they go and get rewards that you and your children need for motivation. When you need to, re-do it or re-work it.
FL Mommy of 3 "sensational" kids
Homeschooling since Fall 2004
Child 1: Blue LLATL/MFW 1, Adventures, ECC
Chld 2: MFW-K, MFW-1+ joined Adv, ECC
Child 3: MFW-PK, MFW-K + joined ECC
Posts: 37
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2005 1:03 pm

Unread post by kfrench »

Welcome to the reality of homeschooling. Here are a few things that have worked for me.

The first is I took my daughter and did one on one cleaning training. I would tell her what to do and she would have to do it quickly. I would set a timer. If it wasn't done on time she would have to do an extra chore or miss something like tv or play time. Or her dogs would be in time out until the chores were finished. She thinks of them as her kids so this was a huge thing for her.

Then if this wasn't working we went into intense training. I set aside half an hour a day to work on whatever it was that she wasn't getting done as she was supposed to. If it was getting up in the morning and getting dressed and getting breakfast then we would practice the steps for half an hour. She would have to get up, pick out her clothes, put them on quickly, and then come upstairs and get her breakfast. She would do everything but the milk. Then because she was also having trouble with getting ready for bed we would just reverse everything back to pjs into bed and do it again. I would time her and we would try to get faster.

With my older son when he had this problem all I had to do was threaten to sit in his room and watch him to get him to get his stuff done quickly. No ten year old boy wants his mom to watch him do anything.

The other thing I use for gettting school work done is I give them chips (we used poker chips but anything works) for each assignment completed, usually one per page and extra for harder stuff. This motivated them to do extra pages etc and I would also give them chips for getting chores done, and if pages were done quickly and correctly they would get extra chips; the same for chores. I would give them extra chips for doing well with problem chores quickly. I would set the timer for cleaning out the dishwasher and if they beat the clock they would get 10 chips. (This was for the one that could take an hour to empty half a dishwasher.)

IF there was any whining, complaining, interupting, not doing work, arguing, etc, then I would just start removing chips and keep removing them until they stopped.

Then when all school work and chores were done they could count their chips and could use it for computer or tv time. This is where you want to be careful not to give them too many chips so they will end up with the amount of time for a special thing.

If they ran out of chips and did any complaining etc then they would have to do extra chores to earn the chips so they wouldn't have a negative balance.

Another thing I would do was to give breaks frequently but the work would have to be done. So I would tell them at 10 to 10:15 is breaktime but you have to finish your assignment first and at 10:15 we would move to something new. If they had work left over it was homework and done after school when everyone else was having free time.

Also I would say ok if you brush your teeth and comb your hair then you can have breaktime. The faster you get your chores done the more free time you will have. THis one worked really well.

I go back and forth using different strategies and schedules.

As far as cleaning. I let alot of it go. A few times a week I just assign everyone chores for vacuuming and sweeping and bathrooms. Everyone starts at once and we all help until it is done. I usually do it for half an hour and a lot gets done. It seems if everyone is working then there isn't much excuse to not help. I just say everyone helps and then we get it all done quickly and nobody has to do too much.

Posts: 67
Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2004 10:23 pm

Unread post by Heidi »


Your chip system and beat the clock system is what I do too, in addition to all my ongoing training in habits (Charlotte Mason teaches to train in habits)- only we have a point system and a chart that they must check off themselves to get the points. One side is chores, the other side is attitudes (they get extra points for blessings - obedience, diligence, reverence, peacemaking, etc.) and negative points for consequences (lying, defiance, cheating, disobedience, arguing, whining, etc.). I give them more or less points depending on their individual weaknesses/ strengths. We add them up each night and they earn daily, and ongoing rewards they save up for.

I started out with very simple picture charts when they could not read and over time it has developed to a chart that I keep in my documents and print out every two weeks. I expect my almost 10 year old to do his chores, double check his work, and finish on time - all without any reminders. For this he gets 5 points each item, or 1 point if I reminded him or he did not remember to mark it done himself, and -5 points if I reminded him and he still didn't do it, and he has to do it anyway. My almost 7 year old gets one reminder and only -1 point for the negative. My almost 4 year old gets two reminders and no negative points yet.

I am glad to hear another Mom is as strict as I am and uses homeschooling to teach habits, correct behavior, manners, and attitudes.
FL Mommy of 3 "sensational" kids
Homeschooling since Fall 2004
Child 1: Blue LLATL/MFW 1, Adventures, ECC
Chld 2: MFW-K, MFW-1+ joined Adv, ECC
Child 3: MFW-PK, MFW-K + joined ECC
Posts: 986
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:43 am

Unread post by TriciaMR »

mikesherry wrote:I am doing MFW 1 and K with my 2 girls and I have a little boy who is two. I love the curriculum so far and that is not the problem at all.

I have a schedule of the day of how things should go and it seems we never follow it. We are still getting our work done, but in a more stressful busy way than if we followed the schedule. Our schedule is planned out kind of like a loose Manager of their Homes schedule. The reason why I haven't been able to start it is because I am so behind in all the household jobs which I keep thinking once I get caught up I will stick to the schedule, but I never catch up. I also feel like my planned schedule doesn't allow for unexpected things but they seem to happen all the time.

Any kind of helps or advice you could offer me would be great. I really love the forums and think there are some great answers out there.

1. Lower your expectations about a clean house and staying super-organized. It's not going to happen with 3 kids. (At least 2 of my 3 are right brained, they're so unorganized it's not even funny. The other one is left brained, but he tends to follow the crowd.)

2. Checkout flylady.net - I don't use her, but I have lots of friends who do who love it. I have one friend who combines Fly Lady ideas with MOTH (Managers Of Their Homes).

3. My other suggestion - pick a time for school to end. If you're not done then, then you'll finish tomorrow.

For us, house cleaning happens on Saturday. That's it. It doesn't get done during the week. I do not clean bathrooms or floors during the week, unless someone dumps sand from their shoes on the carpet, or misses the toilet (I have 2 four year old boys, sometimes that happens). I use a Swiffer Sweeper (with the vacuum attachment) and a Swiffer Wet Jet for most of my Saturday cleaning of the floors. My DH is wonderful, and will vacuum the carpet either upstairs or the main floor for me on Saturday morning. I use those Swiffer dusters to dust with. Every other week (or so) on Sunday, we host a Life Group from church at our house. The Saturday before that, I'll actually scrub the kitchen floor with a regular mop and Lysol cleaner.

Every evening, the kids pick up all their toys and pick up their rooms.
Every morning beds are made.
After each meal, dishes are cleaned.
Before the next meal, the dishes in the dish drainer are put away.
Laundry is folded/hung up and put away daily as well.

Yep, if you come to my house in the middle of the day during the week, there will be toys scattered all over the living room floor, and spots on the mirrors in the bathroom, and the kitchen floor may have a few sticky spots. If that bothers you, come on Sunday, when it's clean.

I used to have a strict schedule. Now I just have an "order for the day."

I got magnetic tape, and put our subjects and activities on it. Then, as we go through the day, we put the magnets at the bottom of the white board as we finish. This way, if I get an interruption, I take care of it and then see what's next on the magnets. If I do have to have specific time for something (like snack time usually falls around 9:30), and I see we are behind, I can just reorder the magnets (I'll move Spanish/snack and recess up, and then science down) and still have everything on there, it's just going to happen in a slightly different order.

Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
2014-2015 - AHL, CTG
2015-2016 - WHL, RTR
2016-2017 - EXP1850, US1877
2017-2018 - DE, 1850MOD
2018-2019 - College, AHL
My blog

Unread post by cbollin »

There is no such thing as one perfect fit for cleaning/organizing and meal planning and all of that. So I realize as I’m typing that my way of doing it might not work for you or others. But perhaps there will be one or two little things to take from it that helps you.

*I don't sweat having a perfectly cleaned house 100% of the time while my kids are young. paraphrasing Todd Wilson (the guy who writes the homeschooling cartoon books) "We have 7 children and homeschool them. Shouldn't it look like they live here too?"

There are certain target rooms that I want to keep clean at least most of the time and try to do each day. Bathroom and a limit to chaos in the school area, and the dishes have to get done.

My book shelves can be messy if need be. School supplies close to each other – but it does not look good enough for a picture to post in cyber space.

*I don’t approach it in the sense of This Person will do these chores today or they don’t get to eat/sleep/have a life. It takes me too long to micro manage each person’s day. I think that was one of the reasons that MOTH didn’t click with my brain. I get overwhelmed to try that and feel like a failure from the start. Instead, I have certain jobs that really need to get done each day. In my home it really works better when we approach jobs as a team effort. We are working together on the big goal. Then we can trade off the specific tasks. We clean in zones and it doesn’t always happen at a fixed time of day either.

*I prefer using a job list from Menus4moms dot com for cleaning tasks for the day and for a week at a glance dinner menus ideas!!! Some people prefer things like flylady or Saving Dinner. Flylady felt like a burden instead of a blessing. Again, it doesn't mean it is a bad thing, it just messed with my mind so much that I wasn't getting the job done in the amount of time. Quoting from a TV show called Bablyon 5, "You cannot run out of time. Time is infinite. You are finite. Zathras is finite. THIS is wrong tool." For other people -- it is a gift from above to use it. So -- it's good stuff.

*Supper Time!!!! I work so much better from a planned menu for supper. I hate making the menus. Some people do better with making a rotation of 10 favorite suppers. I’ve done that sometimes. And it works for a while. Then I need to shake it up a bit. I like using the weekly menus on Menus4moms site mentioned above. I use it as a tool. My oldest can just look at what day it is and make the food with me. That site is being a blessing to me for some things. We tried Saving Dinner for a little while. Bought the book. My husband wasn’t liking the food in it because I’m not that great of a cook and my oldest is just learning. So, I like the idea of Saving Dinner, but my reality needed something else.

*I don’t necessarily work in fixed points of the day to get household stuff done. I’d go bonkers if I had to stop cleaning the bathroom because it says 9:00 am. Why not just finish the job at 9:02 and be done with it? Then again, there are things that have to be done at certain times of the day – get to speech therapy on time. Get to dance class on time. So – I have to be aware of the clock, but not enslaved to it.

I’m not sure that helps any. I sure don’t claim to have a clean house. Right now is a great example. I have the 2nd floor and basement cleaned, but the main level isn’t. It is supposed to be done sometime today before 8:30 pm. And we have dance in the evening. This means I should stop typing now. But then again, I'm a routine over schedule type of person. and it's getting that time of day that lunch would be helpful.

Julie in MN
Posts: 2909
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Unread post by Julie in MN »

Oh, Sherry, hugs to you! You are certainly trying to do a lot of good things!

I am no expert, having never homeschooled multiple little ones, but here are my thoughts as I think of you:

1. Your housework will always be behind when you have little ones. Whether you homeschool or not, your work will never be done. But don't worry, one day you won't have little ones and you will have that house you dream of, if you like :o)

2. My schedule is not complicated or hard to follow. It looks like this:
School is from 8 til 2:30 this year. My time is completely devoted to teaching from 8 to 11, and after that I am flexible about spending time on school whenever needed. Now, I do flex the schedule, but if I'm not getting things done, I stick to that schedule & voila, school gets done!

3. After 2:30 we are done with school, no matter what (barring outright disobedience on my son's part). I can plan my chores around the time period from 2:30 until bedtime, because I am *not* teaching during that time. On occasion I do things before 8 a.m. such as unload the dishwasher or throw in laundry.

4. Anything planned in advance goes more quickly. Whether it's MFW lesson plans or a menu outlined by my son, it gets done faster if I don't have to spend tired brain time on thinking :o)

5. I feel the pain with the 2yo. My grandson is all over the place at 22 months. I keep telling my dd to read the MFW Toddler Archives so she can make a plan for him that he only has to get used to once, rather than letting him test limits daily (and get upset daily). But it is indeed a challenge & you are to be commended for tackling it!

6. Your children are far ahead of the game just by being together and being trained by a mom. That's far more important than schoolwork or housework!

7. When I look around & get discouraged, I like to remember that suburban homes with empty spaces are not universal. I think of when we toured Abraham Lincoln's childhood home of one room. They must have been packed in there, stuff stored everywhere, tons brought out every day to complete the necessities such as bedding, cooking utensils, and things to be washed. Add a toddler to that mix -- I'm sure it wasn't pretty :o) but it was still good!
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
Posts: 320
Joined: Thu May 10, 2007 5:46 pm

Unread post by dhudson »

Hey Sherry,

I feel your pain - when my kids were younger ( I have a 10 yr old and 7 yr old twins) I had to figure out how to fit everything in.

Like previously said, check into to Flylady - she has helped me a ton. I schedule 15 - 20 min a day to do the "Fly Zone". I use a timer and if I am not done, too bad I move on to the next thing I need to do. I've learned it's okay to do a small thing at a time but it adds up at the end of the week.

I have the kids do a "pick up time" right before dinner for toys, shoes, anything else that has gotten out of place during the day.

My kids make sure their room is picked up in the morning before they come out and then we don't worry about it for the rest of the day.

allrecipes.com is a life saver for me and has a great healthy slow-cooker recipe index. The slow-cooker saves my life.

We do all our school work M-T so that Friday is cleaning day.

Have the kids sort laundry for you - purchase several baskets write in sharpie what color goes in what basket and let them have it - mine do it Mon morning. My 10 yr old (yes, he's a boy but they have to learn too) then has the responsibility to put the first load in.

Finally and most importantly, know that this is a stage of life that we all have gone through. I always think, my house may be a mess but my kids aren't. It'll be okay and dirt is patient and faithful!
God Bless,
blessed Mom of three - 16, 13 & 13
happy user of MFW since 2002
Posts: 122
Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2005 4:28 pm

Unread post by Toni@homezcool4us »

You know, this is how my first 4 years of homeschooling went. The last two years, we had a basic schedule written down and I made a basic attempt to follow it (also based on having read MOTH).

What I discovered this year is that I can't make a basic attempt. It doesn't work for me. If I give myself an inch, I take a yard. It's the procrastinator in me. So, up at 7:45am sharp, school starts at 8:30am. Consistently! This is the first year I have three students to juggle (one CTG and two 1st graders), plus supervising a 20 mo old. Oy vey!
I knew it had to be more precise this year. It is and we are reaping incredible benefits.

What I've learned (and what is working sooooo well now) is that I absolutely DO need to pace our day more in line with MOTH. And with that, I am finding order and, more importantly, peace.

I should add that I implemented a chores schedule to lighten my load (I tend to think I should do it all, even choosing primary care nursing over team nursing when I worked as an RN). My kids are learning greater responsibility and a servant's heart and I'm learning that others can and should pitch in in our home. One of those chores is a big help for keeping us on schedule and it's very simple. That is, the kids take turns making lunch sandwiches for the next day (yes, we pack lunches for homeschool, lol).

A few other time savers are viewing the next level of Math-U-See in the evening so we are always prepared to move forward in a lesson during math time, and pulling our books for the next day and marking the lesson pages with index cards (including bible). I also read bible at breakfast and read alouds at lunch.

Finally, if you have any courses such as Spanish, it can be assigned outside of school time since it is independent work. I do decide to move other work to "homework" if necessary. Oh, and as far as homework goes, it's something they will need to be well prepared for at the college level. Don't be hesitant to utilize it if need be, as they will gain important independent study skills during that time.

And as for my house, show up during hs hours and you'd think we were messy. Show up after dinner? Different impression. Such is the flow of our homeschool day. The housework waits until we can get to it.
A proud adoptive mom of 4 children,
I invite you to join me THE WISE WOMAN BUILDS HER HOUSE
Posts: 174
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 4:55 pm

Unread post by mgardenh »

If you don't have children do chores, then change this. It is essential. Even a 2 year old can do some chores. With supervision, my 3 and 7 year old each clean a bathroom, clean their rooms, empty the dishwasher, swiffer the floor, and other things. Now my youngest doesn't do the dishes due to allergies but soon the 7 year old will.

Oh yeah and listen to my sister Tricia -- relax about house. With young ones it takes less then 30 seconds to destroy the house and 5 hours to clean it up!
DH to Laurel
SAHD (mostly) to
Julia - 10 years old, Explorations to 1850
Alexis-7 years old, Explorations to1850 see her story at
Have used MFW, k, 1st, Adventures, and ECC, CTG, RtR
Posts: 149
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 12:50 pm

Unread post by my3boys »

This year we are doing ECC and in the teacher's notes there is a page that is titled 'how to fit it all in' or something like that. It gives the Hazel's schedule and the way that they manage chores with a whiteboard - I don't know if this info. is in all the guide books. I have followed their schedule and chore system this year and have found it to be very helpful.

There have been a couple of weeks since we started that I have not watched the clock very closely and have lost all sense of time - after reading the posts about using a timer I have started doing that this week and it is going well.

As per my chores, from fly-lady I have used these helpful tips -
1. Buy disinfecting wipes and wipe the bathrooms down in the morning when you are done using it (only takes a couple of minutes, even with three boys who pee on the floor :0))
2. I have a list of daily chores and a list of weekly chores - the daily chores get scheduled through out the day so that they can be done in a short bursts and become part of the routine (I do a few things after each meal basically) - the weekly chores I assign to a day of the week and each day we have a time of weekly chores (the kids take turns either vacuuming, dusting, tidying whatever area is assigned to that day - I write the chores on a whiteboard and we wipe them off as they are done)
3. I have an answering machine and return calls later in the day when my husband comes home from work - I do not answer the phone during the day. If we have appointments or something I just do whatever I can fit in that day that I consider essential and then drop the rest - school is supposed to be done by lunch, but I never go past 3pm (anything not done just doesn't get done - this doesn't happen very often). Also, I don't socialize very much - I have friends from church that I talk to on Sunday and once a month we go out together, but that is as much as I can manage at this point. I do have friends that socialize together almost on a daily basis and I don't know how they get anything done with their families - they don't understand how I could 'isolate' myself that much, but my family are people too and they deserve the best of me - I will have plenty of time to be a social butterfly when my nest is empty.

So, that's basically what works here. I would like to find more time for exercise and hobbies, but that will come in time I guess.
Mom to 3 busy boys ages 11, 8, and 6
finished K, First, ECC, and CtG - currently using RtR
Posts: 158
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2006 5:59 pm

Unread post by HSmommi2mine »

You need a realistic routine, not necessarily a timed schedule. I second the flylady recommendation.

I bet you already have a few routines in place, so start there. If you already get up and get dressed, add making the bed to that. After making the bed is automatic, then add emptying the dishwasher or starting dinner.

Every day take 15 min and de-clutter something. It can be a kitchen drawer while you are on hold with the dr. or sort toys while the big kids play with the little ones.

Teach your kids to have "room time". Even if they don't nap they can be in their rooms quietly looking at books or listening to a book on tape, playing Lego, whatever. As long as it gives you time relatively alone it is helpful. It takes time to get them use to this concept and you can start with 20 min and add time as you go. My big kids do 90 min and my 2 yo is about 45 min. as long as her big sister is entertaining her in their room!

Room-time is so you can nap or mop the floor or check the boards. Make sure you spend at least 15 min. doing something for you before you start in on the chores.

Make these changes in routine and expectations a little at a time and will be amazed how much one little thing helps.

Wife to my favorite guy
Mom to 3 great kids
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2008 4:11 pm

Thanks Tricia..

Unread post by ComfyDenim »

TriciaMR wrote:I got magnetic tape, and put our subjects and activities on it. Then, as we go through the day, we put the magnets at the bottom of the white board as we finish. This way, if I get an interruption, I take care of it and then see what's next on the magnets. If I do have to have specific time for something (like snack time usually falls around 9:30), and I see we are behind, I can just reorder the magnets (I'll move Spanish/snack and recess up, and then science down) and still have everything on there, it's just going to happen in a slightly different order.
Tricia, I love the magnet ideas!
I'm going to see what I can morph for us out of that.
Chores could even be done this way. :-)
-----===== Amelia =====------
Mom o' Four to:
Princess Pink, 9.5yrs, 4th Grade
Capt. Lego, 8 yrs, 2nd Grade
Capt. Caveman, 4 yrs, K4
Princess Purple, 2.5yrs, into everything
Posts: 350
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 2:45 pm

Unread post by RachelT »

I am still on a journey and will always be trying to improve how I manage everything around my house! Some things that I have gleaned for various resources have helped me to create my own routines and systems and schedules, etc.

I do love my MFW TM's that help me know what to do each day! Marie's plans have helped us to have a successful homeschooling experience overall!

Flylady.net - I LOVE being able to check her website and it TELLS me what "zone" to work on each week of the month and gives me a few specific jobs in each one. I do get frustrated if something comes up and I don't get all the zone chores done, but I can sometimes make them up on another day. I've also realized after using Flylady for awhile that if I miss a zone one month but get back to it the next month, it's not too much worse off. I've made up my own "weekly home blessing" chore list for things that really have to be done each week and then I try to do some zone cleaning through the week. I guess I like it that I don't have to be overwhelmed by the choices of all the things that need cleaning, I can just focus on one area that Flylady has "assigned" for that week or day.

MOTH (Managers Of Their Homes) - helped me to set up my schedule. Sometimes we get a half hour or an hour off and then I am frustrated with how the day is going and it shows in my attitude, but I can live with it. However, I do get much more accomplished if we stick more closely to our schedule. (And I am happier!) I just revisited our schedule over the weekend because I had a lot of frustration with some things last week. Revising our schedule has started us on the right path for this week! Setting up chorepacks for our morning routine have really helped. I need to do more chorepacks for other times of the day, but haven't gotten to that, yet.

Magnificent Manager - Someone on this board mentioned this magnetic board in August and I ordered it. It is awesome! It is a magnetic schedule board with all kinds of magnets for different things. (They also have menu and chore planners, but I haven't gotten those organized, yet.) I love it because I've taken my MOTH schedule and MOTC chores and created a visual magnetic schedule that my children can look at (the magnets have pictures) and see what we are going to do that day. I look at it at night and plan our schedule for the next day. Because it's magnetic I can also move the magnets if our schedule get thrown off for some reason. It's been fun to use! Look for magnificentmanager.com

Well, I hope that you are finding lots of good ideas from everyone in this discussion! It's always nice to hear that we all have similar experiences from time to time.
Rachel, wife to Doug ~ 1995, mom to J (17) and B (15)
MFW K (twice), 1st (twice), Adv., ECC, & CtG 2006-2010,
Classical Conversations 2010-2016,
ECC/AHL 2016-17, eclectic 2017-18, WHL & US1 2018-19

Posts: 159
Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2005 9:56 am

Re: I need to settle down - advice?

Unread post by tiffany »

erikdeb wrote:I'm always feeling tense and stressed about getting things done. This is mostly because by about 2pm I crash and am DONE. By 2:00 I can easily fit in either school or housework, but not both. And this is with only 1 ds6 doing 1st gr. But I also have a newly 4yo who loves workbook stuff and likes to tag along, and a 2yo who wants attention during school as well as a baby crawling around on the floor.

I thought ds was a huge dawdler, but as I'm watching him today, he's not really dawdling in school, yet it seems to take a while. For school today, he is writing a Proverb, one page in the blue book where he just has to fill in 4 words, a timeline piece, 1 page from CBoM, and his Bible reader/notebook. Any thoughts on how long each of those should maybe take? It took 10 minutes to do the math page, 15 minutes for the timeline, and 5 minutes to write the words in the blue book. (He's enjoying seeing how long things take, so this isn't stressful in and of itself today.) Do those times sound accurate-ish? I just FEEL like he's going slow, but maybe it's not. Ds finished all of his school today, and he wanted to count each thing individually, and then add it up. It took 59 minutes. Like that's so much time. I think, too, I feel bad putting off his free time for so long. I personally don't do well with breaks, as I have trouble getting back to it. And I also have trouble settling down until the work is all done. Like right now for example, he did great school for an hour, and now he is playing, and I'm just feeling tense because I know we still have to go and empty the dryer sometime.

Any advice for getting both school and housekeeping done? I think we can get by with an hour of cleaning a day, but I can't seem to find that hour when I have energy.
You'll find that housework is challenging for all of us. Remember when you were growing up, most likely you went to school and your Mom had a large part of the day to clean house and other stuff, without an added job of teaching. Plus, I find our house gets messier with people home all day. I had gotten into kind of a groove with child #5. I had a decent household schedule, and we started ECC. I didn't have anyone to teach reading to that year. But add baby #6, teaching a couple of new readers, and some health problems to boot- and things feel a bit up for grabs. I think you will find your footing. There are lots of organizational books out there. That might be helpful for you, or it might just stress you out more. If I were you, I would pray and adjust your expectations as you learn the ropes with homeschooling. Most of us were not taught how to balance all of these responsibilities.

When I was successfully managing a schedule, I had divided the house into parts and put it on a monthly calendar. I would work on a room or two daily. Laundry of course is most days. Depending on the size of your house and the number of bathrooms, your workload will vary. I'm hoping this summer I can tame my beastly house again! I gave up on being Martha Stewart years ago, though. My main goal is hygenic. Dust and clutter won't kill anyone. :-)

Sounds like your son is doing great and so are you!
Wife to Tim ('88)
Mother to Sophie 16, Jonathan 14, Joey 12, Noah 10, Matthew 8, Eli 4
Have completed MFWK, MFW 1st grade, ECC, CTG, RTR, Exp.-1850,1850-Mod., HS Ancients, HS World
Fall of '11 ECC,HS Ancients, HS U.S. History to 1877
Post Reply